Monday, February 27, 2006

FIRST MULTI VOTE IN UGANDA

Uganda's Museveni attacks rival.

Museveni warned opposition supporters against "causing chaos". Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has accused his defeated opponent in last week's presidential elections of failing to understand democracy. He told the BBC that Dr Kizza Besigye's plan to challenge the result in court was "neither here nor there" as he is not the one who decides. Dr Besigye - once Mr Museveni's doctor - is currently out on bail having been accused of several crimes he denies. UK and US diplomats have urged Dr Besigye's supporters to avoid violence. Mr Museveni again accused Dr Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change party of links to "terrorist groups", which he said they must cut.

ELECTION RESULTS

Yoweri Museveni: 59.28%
Kizza Besigye: 37.36%
With 99% of polling stations reporting
Source: Electoral Commission
Press urges calm

"The FDC does have some links with terrorism and so on. It will be sorted out in time. For us we are patient. We are watching." Dr Besigye, who has been facing treason and rape charges during the campaign, described the result as "outrageous", saying the Electoral Commission's compilation of votes was "illegal" and all part of an "illegitimate process". In the parliamentary elections at least 80 MPs lost their seats, including 17 ministers, the Uganda media reports, but Mr Museveni's National Resistance Movement will still have a huge majority.

New faces in the next parliament will include First Lady Janet Museveni. Earlier, in his first address to the nation since his victory, Mr Museveni thanked Ugandans for rejecting "negative forces". Kampala saw clashes between police and opposition supportersMr Museveni said opposition supporters threatened "to cause havoc" but large deployments of security forces were ready for trouble. He also referred to the protesters who gathered outside FDC offices on Saturday to demonstrate against the result. They were dispersed by riot police using tear gas. "They tried [to cause chaos]. They couldn't. It's too late for that type of game," he said. Mr Museveni - who has been in power for 20 years - won 59% of the vote, the Electoral Commission said on Saturday. Dr Besigye took 37%.

Uganda's first multi-party vote in 25 years was seen as a test of its democratic credentials. The outcome has been broadly endorsed by international monitors, although EU observers noted some problems with the campaign. In their preliminary report, the observers said there was no "level playing field", pointing to Dr Besigye's arrest last year. They also said state-media was biased towards Mr Museveni and his National Resistance Movement. Chief EU observer Max van den Berg recommended Uganda should reinstate a law limiting a president to two terms. Mr Museveni changed the constitution to allow him to contest these polls.
BBC NEWS REPORT.

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